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Mainstreaming indigenous knowledge and practices for flood resilience

  • Amount funded: £57,000
  • Year: 2023
  • Duration: 18 months
  • Locations: India
  • Grant stream: Open grants call

There is growing recognition for the significance of indigenous knowledge as a resource for shaping climate adaptation strategies; however, this valuable resource is limited due to insufficient documentation and utilisation.

Project partners
Sahbhagi Shikshan Kendra
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How we are helping

The project aims to improve the adaptation, resilience and disaster response of vulnerable communities affected by floods in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar states by documenting and advocating for the use of indigenous knowledge and community-based disaster risk reduction strategies.

About the project

The significance of indigenous coping strategies and knowledge is increasingly acknowledged as a valuable resource for crafting plans for climate change adaptation, as noted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC: 2007, 2010) and United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC: 2013). Locally evolved mechanisms and practices can be more effective relative to external approaches when addressing immediate climate-related risks, such as flooding.

By integrating both modern scientific approaches and traditional knowledge, a combination of methods and practices can offer practical and cost-effective solutions for enhancing disaster risk reduction, preparedness, and adaptive responses. Greater emphasis on collective decision-making in planning, knowledge sharing and implementation is necessary to achieve this approach to more socially inclusive and innovative adaptation and mitigation strategies.

The project will engage with district and state-level disaster management authorities, local civil society and community-based organisations, and members of village self-governance institutions (Panchayats) to integrate indigenous knowledge and practices into effective disaster response strategies for flood resilience.

This will be achieved by:

  • Focusing on 10 highly flood-prone districts, encompassing eight districts in Uttar Pradesh and two in Bihar
  • Conducting community consultations to explore and document indigenous knowledge and best practices of communities living in flood prone areas
  • Producing a training manual containing the findings of the consultations and sharing with other communities and civil society organisations (CSOs) for action
  • Training civil society, community-based organisations and other partners to more effectively respond to disasters by implementing socially inclusive and innovative adaptation and mitigation strategies
  • Conducting workshops with relevant government agencies and civil society at district and state levels to enhance sharing, learning and reflection on practical experiences and proven models of adaptation and mitigation
  • Promoting coordinated action by government and civil society in planning, learning and action for disaster preparedness, in line with national policies on disaster management.

As a result of the project, it is hoped that flood resilience will be enhanced in vulnerable communities through strengthened local development policies and more effective disaster response. Civil society involvement in decision-making on adaptation and mitigation strategies will be strengthened, leading to the integration of successful models at local and regional levels.

Project Partners
Sahbhagi Shikshan Kendra

Sahbhagi Shikshan Kendra (SSK), a support organisation and a centre for Participatory Learning and Action, was founded in 1990 to promote and strengthen civil society organisations of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand. SSK strive for building and strengthening capacities of CSOs through people-centric approach, placing people at the centre of all developmental initiatives. Partnership and reciprocal sharing of information with the target groups is the nucleus of their values. SSK works with grassroots organisations that strive for social change.

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